What is Obama Care (the Affordable Care Act or ACA)?

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What is Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act?


Obamacare is the shorthand name for the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010.

This wide-reaching law does many things, but most significantly it:

  • protects consumers -- for example, by requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and preventing them from arbitrarily canceling your coverage
  • allows states to expand Medicaid coverage
  • creates marketplaces (sometimes called "exchanges") for affordable health insurance plans, and
  • establishes new funding for public health and prevention.

Until 2019, the law also requires most U.S. citizens and legal residents to have health insurance or, if they don't, to pay a tax penalty. Beginning in 2019, however, the penalty goes away in all states except those that have enacted their own penalties. Currently, the list of states with penalties includes California, D.C., Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

At ObamacareByZipCode, we focus on helping you understand how Obamacare works in West Virginia, to help you get the coverage you need.

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Here are some topics that answer frequently asked questions about Obamacare.

Do I Have to Get Obamacare in West Virginia?

How Much Does Obamacare Cost?

How Can I Save Money on Obamacare?

How Do I Sign Up for Obamacare in West Virginia?


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